Burger King Russia has launched its own-branded virtual currency, the ‘WhopperCoin’. The virtual cash will allow customers to purchase a Whopper burger for 1,700 WhopperCoins. But could you be persuaded to ditch your pounds for branded currency?
Now, virtual currency isn’t all that new, Bitcoin has been around for a fair few years now – early investors in Bitcoin have reportedly made their millions, with Fortune magazine reporting in May that a $5 investment in Bitcoin seven years ago would be worth $4.4m today. And today there are over 900 cryptocurrencies out there in the ether.
The mere principle of cryptocurrency seems mind-boggling – a digital asset that never physically changes hands, so who knows what the future of this digital cash will be. But while it seems so crazily futuristic, Burger King’s announcement of its own-branded virtual cash leaves me wondering if this really is money madness or just a sign of the times…
Burger King’s head of external communications has claimed that its new virtual currency scheme has created an investment vehicle from the Whopper burger.
A WhopperCoin reportedly equates to one rouble (about 1.3p). Burger King has explained that its customers will amass the virtual cash every time they buy a Whopper burger – so it’s essentially a loyalty scheme.
But the virtual currency differs from a normal loyalty scheme, as customers will supposedly have the freedom to spend their amassed coins with whoever else accepts them (but perhaps not in McDonald’s…).
Burger King customers in Russia will be able to claim their accrued coins by scanning their receipt with a smartphone.
Commenting on this announcement, Emin Gün Sirer, an associate professor at Cornell University and a director at the Initiative for Cryptocurrencies and Contracts, stated on Twitter:
This is a consumer-empowering technology. The user data is no longer trapped in the company.
— Emin Gün Sirer (@el33th4xor) August 29, 2017
Now, according to some financial commentators, we’re experiencing a cryptocurrency boom. So with Burger King unveiling its own-branded virtual currency this week, do we accept this as the future and will we soon be trading our coffee-addiction accrued ‘StarBucks’ to pay for the weekly shop?
Do you think more brands will launch their own virtual currencies? Or is this simply money madness?